Spain Extends to December 31 Powers to Block Foreign Takeovers

Spain’s government has extended the duration of special powers that allow it to block takeovers of strategic companies.

The special powers, which were set to expire at June 30, will be in place until the end of the year, government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said in a press conference following an extraordinary cabinet meeting Thursday.

The rules were put in place last year to offer the government the ability to to avert the acquisition of core assets or business at prices after equity values plummeted due to the pandemic.

The rules mean that any purchase by a foreign investor of a stake greater than 10% in a strategic, publicly-traded company will require approval from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his cabinet. The same requirement applies for stake acquisitions valued at 500 million euros or more in strategic, unlisted companies.

The government is mulling to use such powers to block Australian fund IFM Global’s bid to buy a 23% stake in local utility Naturgy, Blooomberg News reported earlier.

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